Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls

Per the requests I got after my last cinnamon roll post, here is the recipe for my tried-and-true vanilla pudding cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. The vanilla pudding is simply added to the dough to make it extremely soft and pliable – and oh, does it ever. (No surprise, this recipe comes direct from my Aunt Marilyn whose recipes have made a great showing on this blog already.) I made these last week and it confirmed my feelings: I am in love with these cinnamon rolls. The dough is so extremely tender and soft, it will blow your mind, and the cream cheese goodness of the frosting is beyond delicious. The filling is made up of brown sugar and cinnamon and it gives a great richness to the standard cinnamon and white sugar combo. Oh my, these really are so good. I’m glad several of you requested the recipe because it gave me a chance to make them and reaffirm my vow to continue making them – it also gave me a great excuse to eat about 13 of them.

Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Note: to use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast, decrease the yeast amount to 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast. Still mix it with the water and sugar but you don’t need to wait for it to proof – just continue with the recipe, adding in the yeast/water mixture where indicated. Also, as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe. This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be.

Ingredients

    Rolls:
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 ½ ounce package instant vanilla pudding
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6+ cups flour
  • Filling:
  • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Frosting:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

Directions

  1. In a small bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set aside. In large bowl, take pudding mix and prepare according to package directions. Add butter, eggs and salt. Mix well. Then add yeast mixture. Blend. Gradually add flour; knead until smooth. Do not overflour the dough! It should be very soft but not sticky. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled. Then roll out on floured board to 34 X 21 inches in size. Take 1 cup soft butter and spread over surface. In bowl, mix 2 cups brown sugar and 4 teaspoons cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top. Roll up very tightly. With knife put a notch every 1 1/2 inches. Cut with thread or serrated knife. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Cover and let rise until double again.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove when they start to turn golden (don’t overbake). Frost warm rolls with cream cheese frosting (combine butter and cream cheese and mix well, then add vanilla and sugar and mix again, then add milk for desired consistency). Makes about 24 very large rolls.

Notes

Freezable Recipe: After shaping the rolls and placing them on the baking sheet, cover with lightly greased saran wrap and a layer of tin foil. Store in the freezer. The night before you want to serve them take out the rolls and put them in the refrigerator. Let them thaw in the refrigerator. Take them out about 8-9 hours after being in the refrigerator and let them rise until doubled. Bake according to the recipe. (If you have less time, you can take the rolls out of the freezer and let them come to room temperature on the counter – about 4 hours, then let rise until doubled).

http://www.melskitchencafe.com/vanilla-pudding-cinnamon-rolls-with-cream-cheese-frosting/

304 Responses to Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Karen says:

    I have been making these for a couple of years, now, and, after experimenting with several other versions (including your buttermilk ones), we keep coming back to these. Love the light, fluffy texture, and, with my LARGE family (7 kids!), the recipe makes enough for everyone to have their fill with some left over. :)

    BUT, I have shied away from them recently, as we are trying to cut WAY down on processed foods, and the instant pudding thing… *sigh* HOWEVER, I had a thought. I subbed in your Vanilla Pudding recipe for the instant (made ahead and chilled), and guess what? They were DIVINE. *happy dance* Still the same light, fluffy texture, and lovely sweet taste, without all the unpronounceables. My family is happy. I am happy. And we are once again in cinnamon roll heaven. <3

  2. Emily says:

    These are delicious! However, I think that I must have done something wrong. I divided them into three batches, one of which I baked straight away on a cookie sheet. The spread out like crazy, but we all still enjoyed them immensely. The second batch I froze and thawed over night, plopped on a cookie sheet, and noticed after 2 minutes in the oven they were spreading again. I transferred them to a 8″ sq dish and they are looking great.

  3. Mel says:

    Emily – is there a chance you might have underfloured the dough? That may cause them to spread (if the dough is too sticky and won’t hold up to rising/baking) – otherwise, you might try rolling them up even tighter.

  4. Emily says:

    That could have been it. I was very conservative when using the flour as I have a bad habit of generally overflouring my baking. Next batch I will tweak the amounts, thanks so much!

  5. Sherri Ogden says:

    I made these Cinnamon Rolls for Christmas! They were so good!! I froze them and made them as needed because this recipe makes a lot. So, So delicious!!!!

  6. Brenda Rose says:

    Is instant yeast the same as rapid yeast????? I do have rapid and active….Thanks

  7. Lyndsay says:

    Is there an easy way to make these at night for breakfast the next morning?

  8. Mel says:

    Lyndsay – you can make the rolls, shape them and put them on the baking sheet the night before. Don’t let them rise on the baking sheet – cover them with greased plastic wrap and refrigerate them. Take them out 2 hours or so before you want to bake them so they can rise.

  9. Meredith says:

    Making these for conference in the morning. I wake up early with the baby anyways, so I am going to try to make them tonight and put in the refrigerator over night, take them out to come to room tempurature and rise until double and then bake so they are warm and fresh from the oven for conference. I will let you know how they turn out!

  10. […] Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls look to die for! It looks like you can also put them in the freezer for another time. To make them […]

  11. […] This is where the inhibitions of your diet might start to decline a bit.  Here we have vanilla pudding cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing.  There is not one part of that recipe that is not my favorite food!  We only live once and this could be moderation.  Create this here. […]

  12. Hilary says:

    Sorry this is so late, but do you use light brown or dark brown sugar for the filling?? Thanks!!!

  13. Andrea says:

    I think that it is hard to make good cinnamon rolls! There are definitely more bad than good out there, but these look amazing!! All elements met… moist and gooey and slathered with frosting… it just looks like it will melt in your mouth!! I can not wait to try these! Thanks for being great at what you do!

  14. Brian says:

    Found this recipe & had to try it – & they were delicious. First time I’ve made cinnamon rolls (though mom used to do so regularly when I was growing up).

    The issue I ran into was kneading the dough. It took a long time (I’m talking 35-40 minutes) for it to come together. I followed the recipe with the 6+ cups of flour, and ended up adding probably 1/2 – 3/4 c additional flour during kneading. My first guess was that because of the pudding the dough took a bit longer, but I see that nobody else had this problem.

    Any thoughts? Do I need to add a bit more flour to start? I’d love to make these again but I don’t look forward to another marathon of kneading….

  15. Brian says:

    Just found your entry on measuring flour, & I have been using spoon & sweep since I could reach the counter. This could account for the difficulty I experienced!

  16. Mel says:

    Hilary – you can use either light or dark brown sugar. I use whatever I have on hand and both work great.

    Brian – I hope the measuring flour thing helps out with the stickiness of the dough! It sounds like you need to add a bit more flour to begin with. Hope that helps!

  17. Shane Birkey says:

    Hi Melanie! I am very excited to taste these. I am in the middle of making them but wonder if I am doing something wrong. I make bread all the time but mostly do the kneading in my Kitchen Aid, especially for soft, wet doughs. I tried to do this the same but it never cleared the sides, was always sticky even after adding about another 3/4 cup flour. I then tried to knead them by hand with about another 1/4 cup flour and that was much worse and messier. I finally managed to get it in a ball and put it in a bowl to raise. How much “6+” flour do you end up using. Do you knead them by hand? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  18. Mel says:

    Hi Shane – this dough is definitely on the softer side of the dough spectrum but it shouldn’t be overly sticky. It should end up being very soft and supple without leaving a lot of dough residue on your fingers. Because the amount of flour can vary widely in yeast recipes based on how you measure flour, humidity, etc., I think if your dough was overly sticky and not clearing the bowl that you need to add more flour. I use my Bosch mixer to knead the dough and depending on where I’ve lived (living at a high altitude, dry climate and now living at humid, sea level), sometimes I add as much as 8 cups of flour. It’s hard to put a specific amount because it will depend on each person making them. Hope that helps a little!

  19. Excellent recipe for vanilla frosting!

    Thanks – MakingVanilla.com

  20. The blog is very good, It worth to collect

  21. Vicki says:

    Melanie,
    I made the pudding cinnamom rolls today and they are superb. Your recipe was very easy to follow and totally foolproof in my opinion. Cant wait for hubby to get home and try them. He will be impressed! Gonna share some with our neighbor too. Thank you so much for sharing!
    Vicki from Oklahoma

  22. Emily says:

    These were amazing! I think they are the best cinnamon rolls in the world. =)

  23. ole says:

    good roll!!! http://www.ccchinachic.com u can find u need or like!!

  24. Carol says:

    I made these cinnamon rolls and the women couldn’t get enough of them. This recipe makes 24 VERY LARGE rolls. I took them to a fish fry and they were devoured by about 10 women and a few small children within 5 hours …..followed by body wraps, of course LOL. The recipe said to spread the softened butter over the dough and sprinkle with the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture but I mixed the butter with the brown sugar and cinnamon and spread it on that way. I also put pecans in half of them and that was wonderful. I highly recommend this recipe !!!!

  25. Carol says:

    I might add that it took closer to 8 cups of flour with kneading so that the dough wasn’t too sticky. I didn’t use an electric mixer but would recommend doing so because of the stickiness of the dough and not knowing exactly how much flour you will need. I doubled the recipe and it seemed like forever kneading it to get the stickiness to go awy. BUT it was worth every minute it took. This is by far the best cinnamon roll recipe I have ever made. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  26. Amy Heflin says:

    OMG Just made these and they are awesome! I have tried several and these are the ones! I didn’t even have as much yeast as it called for and they still turned out. Now if I can figure out how to incorporate pumpkin into them.

  27. Sherri Ogden says:

    I made these for Christmas last year! Baked half and froze half!! They were so good! I will definitely make these again!!!

  28. Esma says:

    Hey Mel,

    Your rolls Look very delicous. Thanks for the recipe but i had My Problems with the instant pudding. In Germany we make One package pudding with 2 cups of milk. So therefore i had to put alot more flour then u wrote. I also used2 of them haha so alot more flour was needed. Could u Tell me how much of our German pudding i have to use to get the exact flour amount for the dough. Thanks alot

  29. Mel says:

    Hi Esma, unfortunately, I’m afraid I’m not familiar with the German pudding at all. Sorry I can’t be more help! Perhaps just try using one package next time?

  30. Kayla says:

    Hey! I just made your recipe from pinterest, they are awesome!!! Thank you very much for sharing the recipe! Mucho gracias.

  31. tufa says:

    wow! the cream cheese frosting looks so yummy on the bread. i bet this smells so good!

  32. Abdul says:

    These recipes look amazing!! Thank you for sharing!! Now mommy can have a “nice” popsicle with the littles

  33. Anon says:

    Roughly how much vanilla pudding does a 3 1/2 ounce package produce? I want to use pudding made from scratch!:)

  34. Mel says:

    Anon – sorry, I don’t know the answer to that since I’ve never officially measured the pudding. You might try googling the answer. Also, I know there are a lot of comments on this post and they are cumbersome to read through, but I seem to remember someone else had used homemade pudding so you might read through to get their feedback.

  35. Angie Z. says:

    I don’t have the strength to knead by hand and would like to use a stand mixer. Does anyone else do this? and how long would I let it run?

  36. Laura says:

    After years of making the pioneer woman’s recipe for cinnamon rolls, my kids have begged me to convert to this one! And I have to agree that it is the best! About to get ready to make and freeze for Christmas morning. Thanks!!

  37. Cheryl says:

    I’ve run across your blog while looking for an Italian bread to go with my Italian dinner for Christmas Eve and came across your Ciabatta and can’t wait to try it tomorrow. Then I noticed your Cinnamon Rolls and checked them out – come to find out you use the same recipe I began to use a several years ago. Mine calls for corn syrup for the filling, it’s great when you bake them right away, but I froze some and with the corn syrup all of the filling ran out during the freezing process. When I freeze I use butter and they are fantastic. I am going to have to make some more very soon. I’ll let you know how the Ciabatta comes out – I use an Electrolux Assistent for my bread, really for almost everything, and I love the way all of my bread comes out — as light as professionally made bread.

  38. Jess C says:

    Came across your recipe on Pinterest and decided to make tonight for the holiday. WOW! Amazing. So soft and yummy, and the frosting is just perfect. I don’t think I rolled out the dough enough, though, because when I rolled everything up, it was a huge roll and a little difficult to cut. I ended up making 12 huge rolls instead of 24. I wonder if you could make a cinnamon bread out of this instead of the rolls? Might have to try it since I’m so un-coordinated!

  39. Amber A says:

    Just made these rolls tonight…. AMAZING!!!! So easy, so delicious. I’m in love!

  40. […] found at Mel’s Kitchen – head over and check it […]

  41. Lindsey says:

    Not too long ago, I had a cinnamon roll “cook-off,” and I was pretty certain that I had an absolutely winner – http://tuesdaynightboyfriend.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/cinnamon-roll-throwdown-winner/ – but after seeing this picture, I neeeeeeeed to make these.

  42. Rosemary says:

    I didn’t think cinnamon rolls could be improved upon until I saw these. Definitely will try them this weekend!

  43. Suzanne says:

    Great news! I only had a half package of cook and serve vanilla pudding in my cupboard but desperately wanted to try making these so went against all the baking common sense voices in my head and tried making a half recipe of these babies. Doing things like this usually results in utter disaster about 80% of the time but NOT TODAY! Yes, I had to cook and cool the pudding but the rolls turned out fantastically. SO delicious. I’m going to make them again (with instant pudding this time). YAY dangerously unhealthy Friday food!

  44. Robin says:

    The flavor of these are awesome!! But, I must be doing something wrong. The texture of the rolls are more like bread…nothing like every other cinnamon roll I have tried. I do not know what I am doing wrong. Any suggestions?

    • Mel says:

      Robin – hmmm, I don’t really know what you mean, I guess. What texture are you going for? I’ve always thought cinnamon rolls were like bread, just a bit softer and gooier. You might try adding a bit less flour and see how that works.

  45. Wendi says:

    Melanie! I LOVE your blog…I have tried several of your recipes. Does this recipe work making it the night before and refrigerating the rolls then let them rise in the morning?

  46. […] Click for recipe: Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. […]

  47. Brooke says:

    I haven’t eaten breakfast yet this morning, and I can’t get this cinnamon roll out of my mind. Thanks so much for sharing! Can’t wait to try them. Have a wonderful day!

  48. more says:

    I constantly emailed this blog post page to all my friends,
    for the reason that if like to read it then my friends will too.

  49. LaDeana says:

    Oh my goodness this recipe is a keeper they turned out just fantastic. I made the dough the night before and just covered and left raise in my oven overnight. Baked them the next morning they were just delish. I will only make this recipe when we want fresh cinnamon rolls . Thank you for the fantastic recipe !

  50. C Watts says:

    I’ve been making cinnamon rolls for decades – these were the best I’ve ever made. You can teach an old dog new tricks!

  51. momofboys says:

    Do you think these could be made in a bread machine? If so, should I make the pudding before, or just add the milk and dry mix?

    • Mel says:

      Momofboys – I have almost zero experience with bread machines so I’m not sure since I don’t know how much you can add to a bread machine. Good luck experimenting!

  52. Denise says:

    Thanks for the DELICIOUS recipe! Just got them out of the oven and they are AMAAAAAAAAZING! :) I didn’t have instant pudding on hand, but I had cook-and-serve pudding, so I just used that with some milk. Didn’t even cook it to make the pudding. I’m totally not a pro, but they turned out beautifully! This will totally be my go-to recipe for cinnamon rolls now, thanks! :)

  53. omg looks delicious….i want some

  54. Tracy says:

    Made these today for Sunday afternoon. This was the third time I have made these and they turned out great as usual. I am only eating one. Just saying. Thanks again!

  55. Krista says:

    I made these this weekend and they are our new favorite! So soft and tender. The only issue I had… I refrigerated them after forming, and then got them out in the morning about an hour before baking. One pan of rolls seemed to… melt… pancake cinnamon rolls! They still tasted good though! Thanks Mel!

  56. Beth W. says:

    I really don’t know why I don’t read the whole recipe before I set out to make them :-) Was going to make 6 batches for my freezer club for our exchange next week. These make a BOATLOAD of rolls! First batch was too doughy and I powdered it up with flour and baked them for today. They are so goooood…and they are the flops! It has been a long, long time in the kitchen today, but I now have cinnamon rolls for Christmas for not only my freezer club, but my neighbors and our Life group from church. A LOT of rolls. I am beat. But this has replaced all other great recipes for cinnamon rolls because of the ease of rolling out. It just glides out so smoothly. Thank you.

  57. Lien4424 says:

    I’ve made these no less than 100 times now! I have my dough rising for a batch that I made with pumpkin spice pudding! Love this recipe!

  58. Russell D says:

    I perused the comments but didn’t see what I was looking for but what is the general time frame for letting the rolls rise…for the first and second time? I’ll be in the kitchen in the morning trying them out!!

  59. Lien4424 says:

    It’s around an hour per rise. It will depend on the temperature of your kitchen, type of yeast, even how long you kneaded the dough.

  60. Beth W. says:

    I had difficulty with freezing them. I baked some right away and they rose fine, big and fluffy, so I know it isn’t the recipe. I thawed in fridge over night and they wouldn’t rise on the counter, so I warmed the oven, only to 100 degrees and put a hot pan of water inside. They did rise, but not to their glory. Oh well. Live and learn. I have yet to learn how to successfully freeze and bake.

  61. Greg says:

    I found this on Pintrest and these are awsome cinnamon rolls everybody loved them
    Thanks I enjoyed these

  62. Rowena says:

    The lost trust caused by certain fake skin care goods, in the long
    run damages the good title of all other very similar essentially efficient products.
    Most companies have taken ethics for a ride,
    and they do not give a second thought before misleading the people.
    After a couple of hours, you may be allowed to go home.

  63. Lexie says:

    Hi there- I made these one time and they were so amazing. The second time I made them they didn’t want to rise…the dough was soooo cold because of the pudding and I think that just chilled the dough so much it didnt want to rise….any tips? I am not sure what I did different the first time as they turned out so great and I remember the dough being cold that time too….THANKS!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Lexie – is there a chance your yeast was expired or your water not warm enough? Also, overflouring the dough can seriously impact rising, too. It’s impossible for me to know what you did differently without being right there in your kitchen but I’d keep an eye on those factors next time. Good luck!

      • Lexie says:

        Hi- I’ve made these 4 times now and twice they were yummy and twice they wouldnt rise… all of my ingredients are fresh so I dont think that is it and I make bread/rolls fairly often so I sure think I have a good feel for water that is hot enough (and not too hot). The dough sure is cold though from making the cold pudding, even the two times they turned out right, they took a very long time to rise…. hmmmm…I love this recipe, that is why I would love to get it figured out so that I can make them and trust they are going to turn out right. I cook for a crew of cowboys, so it is important to me that I can serve them. Thanks for you suggestions, I am open to more!!

        • Mel says:

          Hi Lexie, Lien’s suggestion is a good one if you want a more typical rising time from this dough. Like she said, the cool pudding will make it so the dough takes longer to rise. For the two times they haven’t worked out for you, are they rising but just slowly or not rising at all? One thing you could try is putting the dough in a warm oven (I preheat to 175 and then turn off when it has preheated) to speed up and help rise in a warm place.

  64. Emi Siplinger says:

    These were SOOOOO good! It made so many I gave so many away to my apartment neighbors! You said the dough wasn’t suppose to be sticky, but mine was super sticky. I used my hands to mix it, so that might have been the problem, but I don’t know. Thank you though. These were perf :3

  65. Jodi says:

    Just perusing for a new cinnamon roll recipe and I’ve heard of these from friends who have tried them (S & D Zobrist). I always use white wheat, but wondering if you have done the same with this recipe in particular??

    Thanks

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jodi – yes, I’ve made this recipe with ground white wheat flour – the cinnamon rolls are a bit heartier but as long as the dough isn’t overfloured, they are still delicious. Good luck if you try them! (Say hi to the Zobrists from me and Brian!)

  66. Mel, in your recipe for Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls, the ingredients call for 2 Tablespoons of active dry yeast. Is this correct? That is a lot of yeast.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kathleen – I know it sounds like a lot but that’s how much I use. If using instant yeast, you can cut it down to 1 1/2 tablespoons.

  67. Lien says:

    Have you tried warming the pudding after it sets? That’s what I usually do because from experience, using cold ingredients will significantly increase rising times.

  68. Cheryl says:

    I make these all of the time and don’t have a problem with them being too cold or slow in rising, because I have always put in the pudding as powder and just add the milk that I allowed to get to room temperature. Everything works out fine every time. I haven’t had them fail as of yet!

  69. beyonce says:

    Can u give me the half recipe

  70. Pam Jorgensen says:

    I can’t wait to try these cinnamon rolls. I’d like to may some as tasty as my son!

  71. Rebecca says:

    Okay Mel;
    I am kind of confused about your vanilla pudding cinnamon rolls. Do I just put the pkg of instant vanilla into my dough and mix that all together with the yeast? Or do I actually make pudding and then pour the pudding into my dough before kneading?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.